JOHN MENADUE. The crazed Brendan Tarrant did not operate in a vacuum. (See Postscript)

We now see the dreadful consequences in Christchurch of Islamophobia. There has been widespread hate speech against Muslims promoted not just by white extremist groups but also by politicians and the media.  

Attacking people who are different, outsiders and particularly if they are Muslims is often seen as good politics. We have seen a lot of it recently. Political leaders from Donald Trump to Scott Morrison have used anti-Muslim rhetoric as a political tactic.

The world leader in Muslim hate speech has been Donald Trump, supported by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News which is really the public relations arm for the hatred spewing out from the White House.

Throughout the last Presidential campaign Donald Trump made a feature of demonising Muslims as a means to attract white ‘Christian’ working class voters. He continued after he became president. One of his first steps as President was to attempt to ban admission of citizens from seven majority Muslim countries. It was known as the ‘Muslim ban’. He floated the idea of a ‘Muslim registry’. He said that ‘Islam hates us’ and referred to ‘people coming out of mosques with hatred and death in their eyes and on their minds’.

Steve Bannon, former adviser to Trump, said that Islam was not a religion of peace but of submission and that the US could become an Islamic state of America. Senior Republican senator Ted Cruz called on ‘law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighbourhoods.’ Former governor Mike Huckabee described Muslims in the Middle East coming out of mosques ‘like uncorked animals’.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News which influences his newspapers in Australia, has given a megaphone in the US to Islamophobia. The February 2014 issue of the International Communications Gazette said ‘One study that analysed Fox News viewers anti-Muslim feeling reported for example, that 60% of Republicans who most trusted Fox News also believed that Muslims were attempting to establish Sharia law in the US.’

Since that report in 2014 Fox News in association with Donald Trump has stepped up the anti-Muslim rhetoric. As a colony of US media and Fox News in particular, Australian media has ceaselessly carried on the anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The Murdoch tabloids in Australia have consistently encouraged bigotry and hostility towards Muslims.

Our media has an exaggerated focus on Islamic terrorism. It seizes every opportunity to highlight this issue. Politicians and the media feed one another in exaggerating the threat. Only a handful of Australians have been killed in Australia as a result of Islamic terrorism in the last decade. Yet at least one woman a week dies and thousands are injured physically and mentally as a result of domestic violence. This only receives spasmodic media interest, but if there is even a minor story about Islamic terrorism it is sure to lead the media bulletin.

The promotion of fear of boat arrivals is in part a projection of fear of Muslims as many of the asylum seekers are Muslim. Attacks on asylum seekers coming by boat is in  fact part code for promoting fear of Muslims.

Just imagine how different the attitude of Messrs Abbott, Morrison and Dutton would be if boat arrivals were white  South African farmers .

Whilst our politicians and the media have focussed on Islamic terrorism in Australia, I have yet to read a serious analysis of WHY. If we seriously ask the question WHY there have been some Islam terrorists in Australian it would open up the whole issue of how Australia’s participation in the invasion of Muslim countries and the resulting death, division and upending of millions of lives has brought some Islamic terrorism to our country. So our media and politicians focus on the few facts about Islamic terrorism in Australia and seldom ask the relevant question WHY. The fact is that a few Islamic terrorists have been active in Australia because Australian troops have invaded Islamic countries and the sooner we get out the better for everyone. But the media doesn’t want to ask the hard question WHY.

Tony Abbott has contended that that ‘Islamophobia has not killed anyone’. That was what he told the Huffington Post on the 5th June, 2017. He was wrong then and he is even more wrong as a result of the Christchurch massacre.

Many of our political leaders have urged Muslim leaders to get their young radicals under control. But I can’t recall any of them telling church leaders in Australia to get some of their clerics under control who have been involved extensively in child abuse.

In the reporting of the Christchurch massacre, our media refers to a ‘white terrorist’. Just imagine the political field day we would have had if Tarrant had been an Islamic terrorist.

Recently One Nation proposed a motion in Parliament endorsing the chant ‘It’s OK to be white’. It was initially supported by the Coalition

For years in Australia the vilification and hate speech against Muslims has gone largely unchecked. That speech has become normalised and acceptable. We see the terrible consequences in Christchurch.

Scott Morrison has been to the fore in response to the Christchurch massacre. But he has an unfortunate record in beating the anti-Muslim drum. On February 2011, Lenore Taylor, the National Affairs Correspondent of the SMH exposed Scott Morrison’s behind-closed-door urging of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Lenore Taylor reported

The Opposition Immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the Shadow Cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate. Mr Morrison’s suggestion was made at a meeting in December at which shadow ministers were asked to bring three ideas or issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack during the parliamentary term. … Sources say that Mr Morrison told the Shadow Cabinet meeting on December 1 at the Ryde Civic Centre that the Coalition should ramp up its questioning of “multiculturalism” and appeal to deeper concerns about Muslim Immigration and “inability to integrate”. 

Postscript.  Following Waleed Aly’s reference on Channel 10 several days ago about what was said at the shadow cabinet meeting in 2010 , the PM’s office said  that the comment on Channel 10 included ‘discredited information’ and referred to ‘defamation’. The New Daily today pointed out that  at the time Julia Gillard  called on Scott Morrison to be sacked for his comments.. The New Daily added ‘Mr Morrison failed to explicitly deny the reports at the time. The New Daily report can be found at https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/03/18/morrison-waleed-aly-muslim/

It is hard to reconcile this beating of the anti-Muslim drum in 2011 by Scott Morrison with his sympathy with what happened in Christchurch last week.

American Indians call this ‘speaking with a forked tongue’.

There is a growing and dangerous Islamophobia and hate speech which has developed in Australia and around the world. There is too much grubby politics involved.

Brendan Tarrant did not act in a vacuum.

See also:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/16/a-letter-to-our-leaders-as-australian-muslims-we-live-in-fear-please-remember-our-pain?CMP=share_btn_link

http://theconversation.com/christchurch-attacks-are-a-stark-warning-of-toxic-political-environment-that-allows-hate-to-flourish-11366

A further PS from Lenore Taylor on 16 March 2019 ..’As the author of the report in question I can add that the sources(multiple) have always stuck by what they told me-and subsequently told several other journalists.’

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14 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. The crazed Brendan Tarrant did not operate in a vacuum. (See Postscript)

  1. P.Boylan says:

    Some credit for the impressive cross-cultural skills, knowledge, tolerance, integrity, inclusion and actions of the Prime Minister of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern must be attributed to her countries long term language education policy. https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/overall-strategies-and-policies/

  2. Kevin Bain says:

    In his “Dark Emu” book which has been highly regarded (17 reprints of the 2014 first edition, and 7 reprints of the 2018 second edition) about aboriginal settlement practices, Bruce Pascoe reports numerous Western District (Victoria) fish traps documented by explorers, but some of the Lake Condah sites were seriously damaged after J Howard PM panicked farmers into believing that Native Title claims would create ruination.

    Words matter Mr Morrison.

  3. Edward Fido says:

    We have yet to ascertain whether Brendan Tarrant acted in the main on his own or whether he had a major on-the-ground support network. He certainly had a major online support network in 8chan and similar Far Right networks. I believe him to have been a lost soul who got things wildly wrong and was seduced by the siren song of Far Right extremism. Our government and security services say they are now on to Far Right extremism in Australia. We will have to wait to see the results of this.

  4. R. N. England says:

    In its present sorry state, the West is ripe for phobias. Islamophobia has been raging ever since Osama Bin Laden’s world-shattering publicity stunt. Other Western phobias have needed more systematic building by special interest groups. The Western “security services” are the people behind the current waves of Sinophobia and Russophobia. What are they doing it for? To further their own careers. That great temple of careerism, the ANU even has a department just for them. Talk about the banality of evil.

    • mcpherson robert says:

      Given Fox News and Steven Bannon’s Hollywood appear perhaps we should enquire were a team of Americans ever ANU housed to then produce the Sydney Suns front page: ‘Communist overthrow in Indonesia’ altered the massacre of thousands into ‘the subsequent transfer of business ownerships’ were now privvy council matters.
      Slight fast forward –and the same players were attacked in Haiphang and Hanoi Bay only to famously decide that your hundreds and our thousands dead –was a staged intervention.
      Full fast forward -and video lab -Architectural buildings must 70 story collapse into their own structural thumb-print in under seven seconds. Not even the most successful and popular comic book hero after repeated remakes could convince -engineers or designers that buildings straight descend through massive girder and reinforced steel .

      Would potentially the Ukraine elections– being nazi and aryan white extremists trained and then armed by the State Department –be not entirely removed from now disclosed –Austrian leader receives Tarrant praise.

      Otherwise -every country but Hollwood knew Bin Laden passed in 2004 . The Israelis arent glib on that matter, Pakistan carries the same dialysis failure (in Riydah Hospital) and the US service marine that flew him is still incarcerated in a Canadian prison. ‘Never a marine’ being the official response- as potentially the Bible Belt contributions to discourse -also established that ” John Kerry was never in Vietnam’ would similarly evade mainstream enquiry.

      hope well

  5. Call me cynical but I can’t help believing that FauxMo and Spud-Dutton will be somewhat chagrined that their scare campaign – press tours of Christams Island, sick asylum seekers jumping the queue – has now been effectively neutered.

  6. Bob Aikenhead says:

    Waleed Aly’s comments were right on the mark. Fraser Anning, despicable though he is, is now being used as camouflage by Morrison and others. Anning is widely viewed as someone with extreme views – what he says resonates with a small group and just incites verbal abuse from the majority. What really matters is the steady, deliberate, stream of dog whistles and worse (“African gangs”, “Asian invasions”, “threat to Western Civilisation etc.) from LNP politicians and some media people who are still (almost unbelievably) widely regarded as, at least slightly, credible sources. They set the social climate in which xenophobia has grown. Their condemnation of Anning is an attempt to put a million kilometres between Christchurch and their previous utterances. Much of the media – including, dishonorably, the ABC – is participating in this cover up.

  7. Robin Wingrove says:

    This country has had a long history of racial hatred and it doesn’t take much reading to see the truth of that. The aspect of it other than its stupidity and divisiveness that upsets me the most is that it is used all the time by dog whistling politicians who see their job as not to bring us all together but to use such ugly aspects of our psyche for their own low ends. And the one most responsible in my mind in my 70 years on this planet is little Johnny Howard, a man who in my opinion has little moral authority, unlike that of a true leader, and whose dog whistling has certainly assisted the divisiveness we are now witnessing. We are seeing the result of decades of the ‘shoot the gook’ mentality of my youth. Thank Christ the bastards are now caught in the spotlight of public awareness where their deeds are apparent to all.

  8. tasi timor says:

    ‘Brendan Tarrant did not act in a vacuum’

    New Zealander ‘Pastor’ Logan Robertson who founded the Pillar Baptist Church in NZ was deported [by Dutton] from Brisbane for entering mosques and threatening Muslims at prayer with violence. He has a network of ‘Churches’ across the US and in Dunedin, which have been described by others as a ‘hate group network.’ Deported back to NZ he expanded the activities of Pillar Baptist to the Philippines. All or most of the ‘churches’ he lists in the directory below have been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Centre for espousing hate.

    https://www.pillarbaptist.org/Church-Directory.php

    https://www.facebook.com/pastorloganrobertson

  9. Tony Mitchell says:

    Just a few days ago, Morrison in his usual anti-Islamic punishment mode – loudly threatened the misguided young Muslim mother AND her two infant children with the loss of their Australian citizenship; thus condemning them to statelessness, and of course, starvation.
    But today, this same devout Christian rants ; ” Any attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths”.
    A wise man said; ” By their actions ye shall know them”.

    • Chris Blaikie says:

      Here’s a good and measured article about the British woman in a similar situation of having her citizenship cancelled.
      https://discoversociety.org/2019/03/05/shamima-begum-has-lost-uk-citizenship-the-fact-that-she-was-a-sexually-exploited-child-has-been-ignored/

      by
      ‘Aoife Daly is Senior Lecturer at the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool and Deputy Director of the European Children’s Rights Unit which seeks to progress children’s rights through research. She recently published Children, Autonomy and the Courts: Beyond the Right to be Heard (Brill/Nijhoff, 2018) in which she argues that it is children’s autonomy and due process rights, not solely their ‘right to be heard’ which should be the focus where courts determine their best interests. She is at present writing about the preoccupation of the law with children’s ‘competence’.’

      No doubt some of what she has written also applies to Australians in Syria.

  10. SIMON FEELY says:

    We can be grateful, if that’s the right word, that the massacre did not occur in Melbourne, where the over-weaponised police force would, as is its wont, have shot to kill.

  11. Jocelyn Pixley says:

    Thank you John, I very much appreciated your article. One further reference is Nick Kaldas (SMH 17 March) saying our eight police services in Australia have not looked at hate crime. This is a further policy failure directly answering the PM of New Zealand’s frustration, amply justified. As well, by Morrison and Bishop failures to treat the NZ Labour Government with respect.

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